Romania 2006-2003

July 27, 2006

On the occasion of Romanian President Traian Basescu’s visit to the United States, the U.S. Senate passed S.Res.359 by unanimous consent. S.Res.359, introduced by Senator Mary Landrieu, is a resolution concerning the Government of Romania’s ban on intercountry adoptions and the welfare of orphaned and abandoned children in Romania. Text of the legislation can be found on the Library of Congress’ website. The direct link is

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c109:3:./temp/~c109nKgIvB::

S.Res.359 is the companion measure to Representative Chris Smith’s resolution, H.Res.578, which was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in April.

December 15, 2005-

Representative Chris Smith (NJ) placed remarks in the Congressional Record regarding Romania’s ban on intercountry adoption. Click here to read these remarks.

December 7, 2005 – Romania denies adoption requests. The Bucharest Daily News is reporting that Romania’s Office for Adoptions (ORA) has announced that they will deny all remaining “pipeline” cases. Click here to read the article.

November 29, 2005 -

The US Department of State held a public conference call for waiting families to speak with the newly appointed US Ambassador to Romania, Nicholas Taubman. Ambassador Taubman answered questions from families regarding those who had been contacted the previous week regarding the status of their case and those whose cases are still pending. The Ambassador expressed his sincere concern for the issue of intercountry adoption and the welfare of children in need in Romania. He stated that child welfare and adoption will be issues that will be of priority throughout his three year tenure in Romania.

November 18, 2005 -

The Romanian office of adoptions has given the State Department information on 101 of the “pipeline” cases. These 101 families were contacted by the State Department on November 17th and 18th:

  • 94 of these cases will be closed (dossiers will be sent back to prospective parents in the US); Romania reports that these children have been re-integrated back into their family of origin

  • 2 adoptions will be completed because they are being adopted by biological grandparents

  • 5 will be completed because they are being adopted by adoptive American families who live in Romania

If you are one of the remaining families with a “pipeline” case, no information is currently available. The US Department of State plans to send a letter to these families to let them know that their case is still awaiting review by the Romanian government. JCICS will post all information regarding the remaining cases on this website as soon as it becomes available.

October 19, 2005 -

JCICS sent a letter to the US Committee on Foreign Relations requesting that during the confirmation hearing of nominee Nicholas Taubman for Ambassador to Romania, Mr. Taubman’s opinion and support of intercountry adoption be explored. JCICS expressed concern about the European Union’s inexplicable stance that Romania must prohibit intercountry adoption in order to accede into the EU in 2007 and stressed Mr. Taubman’s potential to play an important role in this issue. Click here to read the letter.

September 15, 2005 –

Summary of Helsinki Commission Hearing

On Wednesday, September 14th, the Helsinki Commission held a hearing on Romania’s ban on intercountry adoption. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ) presided over the hearing as chairman. Representatives Benjamin Cardin (MD), Joseph Pitts (PA) and Senator Richard Burr (NC), all members of the Commission, were in attendance. Rep. Anne Northup (KY) was also present as well as Rep. Jeb Bradley (NH), both of whom have waiting parents as constituents and are involved in the cause.

The hearing included testimony from a number of experts, the Department of State and the Helsinki Commission all whom advocated for intercountry adoption. The Commission expressed disappointed that no representatives from the European Union attended (3 invitations were offered and all declined). The Commission implied that this may be the first of several hearings and that this issue will be debated further.

We will post information on the next steps of the Commission as soon as it becomes available.

Click here to read more about the hearing and to access the unofficial transcript of the proceedings.

September 14, 2005

HELSINKI COMMISSION TO EXAMINE IMPACT OF ROMANIA’S ADOPTIONS POLICY

(Washington) – Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), Chairman of the United States Helsinki Commission, announced that the Commission will hold a hearing on the impact of Romania’s newly implemented ban on inter-country adoptions:

IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILDREN?

ROMANIA’S BAN ON INTER-COUNTRY ADOPTION

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

2237 Rayburn House Office Building

***JCICS will give testimony at this Hearing which is open to the public. For more information visit the Helsinki Commission website

June 29, 2005

The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) sent a letter to President Basescu regarding the processing of the pipeline cases. The letter was signed by 44 members of Congress, one of the highest signature counts on record at CCAI. Click here to read the letter.

April 25, 2005

JCICS sent a letter to President Basescu regarding the processing of the pipeline cases. Click here to read the letter.

April 2005

The Romanian National Authority for the Protection of Children’s Rights has requested input from Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) on their child welfare framework. Below is a copy of the request.

Request for ngos in view of evaluation of regulatory child welfare framework

In line with the Government Program providing for the commission of ca. 45% of current social services to ngos before 2008, NAPcr is about to evaluate the regulatory child welfare framework.

An evaluation commission has been set up in NAPDC for that purpose in charge of drafting proposals for improvement of child welfare legislation.

In support to the above we are hereby launching an invitation to all ngos to contribute with there perspective on regulatory act in force in child welfare issues (regulatory package an secondary legislation).

Thank you and looking forward to your contributions at: office@anpca.ro or the napcr headquarters in 7 Magheru blvd., Bucharest.

March 10, 2005

JCICS attended a meeting at Romanian Ambassador Ducaru’s residence with President Basescu. The meeting consisted of about 20 – 30 people, mostly adoptive parents and waiting parents, two representatives from the Department of State, one other NGO and JCICS. We were very honored to have been invited to the meeting and the President was very gracious to share his time. He was very warm and seemed empathic to the cause. The purpose of the meeting was for him to hear from adoptive parents and those, such as JCICS, advocating for the pending cases to be processed. The President did mention that the U.S. has the largest number of pending cases – approximately 200, and other countries such as France, Spain, Israel, and Germany also have pipeline cases. While no specifics were addressed we are hopeful that the pending cases will be processed soon. He did also mention that international adoptions were discussed in his meeting on Wednesday with President Bush, but again, no specifics were addressed.

Request to

all families who adopted from Romania between 2000 and 2004

Please make sure that your post placement reports are filed. It is important that post-placement reports are forwarded to the proper Romanian government officials. For more information please contact Tatiana Maxim at the Romanian Embassy ( tmaxim@roembus.org). Thank you for your cooperation in this manner.

January 31, 2005

The White House issued the following press release announcing that Dr. Jack D. Crouch (current Ambassador to Romania) has been named Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor.

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 31, 2005

President George W. Bush today announced that he has named Dr. Jack D. Crouch II Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor. Dr. Crouch is the U.S. Ambassador to Romania where he has worked to expand democracy in the region, increase cooperation between the United States and Romania in the global war on terror, and foster Romania’s incorporation into Western security institutions including NATO and the European Union.

“J.D. Crouch’s extensive experience in national defense and foreign policy will make him a valued member of my national security team. I appreciate his willingness to continue to serve my Administration in this new capacity,” stated President Bush.

Dr. Crouch served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy from August 2001 through October 2003. He was the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense on the formulation and coordination of policy for NATO, Europe, Russia, the Central Asian Republics, the Caucuses and the Balkans, nuclear forces, missile defense, technology security policy, counterproliferation, and arms control.

Earlier in his career, Dr. Crouch was the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy. From 1984 to 1986, he worked for the Assistant Director for Strategic Programs in the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and was an advisor to the U.S. Delegation on Nuclear and Space Arms Talks with the former Soviet Union.

Dr. Crouch received his bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and his Ph.D. in International Relations from the University of Southern California.

January 14, 2005

The Department of State has issued a new update on Romania. Click here to view their notice.

December 17, 2004

JCICS Meets with U.S. Department of State Regarding Romania’s Pending Cases

On Friday, December 17, 2004 JCICS met with representatives from the U.S. Department of State including Heather Conley, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, William Silkworth, Romania Desk Officer for North Central European Affairs and Scott Boswell, Adoption Unit Chief in the Office of Children’s Issues. The meeting focused on the pipeline cases from Romania.

The following information was provided:

Romanian Elections:

  • Many in both the U.S. and the Romanian governments were surprised by the outcome of the presidential election in which Bucharest Mayor, Traian Basescu, narrowly defeated Romanian Prime Minister Adrian Nastase.

  • The new government is in the process of setting up and President Basescu will be sworn in on Monday, December 20, 2004. The President will then have ten working days to form the government and appoint a Prime Minister.

  • Ambassador Crouch discussed the issue of the pipeline cases with Basescu prior to the elections and the conversation indicated support for the processing of cases.

Pipeline Cases and Commission:

  • On January 1st the adoption law restricting international adoption to only biological grandparents will enter into effect. Initially, the Romanian government needed to add to the adoption law to allow the formation of a commission to examine the processing of pipeline cases before January 1, 2005. While it does not appear that any action will be taken by January 1st, there have been assurances that an addition to the law will still be made to allow the creation of the commission.

  • The commission will be comprised of objective advisers who will offer technical advice of how cases can be processed in an equitable, transparent and ethical manner. France has taken a leadership role this matter.

  • The U.S. has made it clear that the members should not have any conflicting issues (i.e., adoptive parents, government officials representing adoptive families, etc.). At this time, it has not been decided if a representative from the U.S. will be on the commission.

  • The United States government has made it clear to Romania that these cases must be resolved before the United States moves ahead on any other projects/ agreements with Romania.

  • The U.S. Government has identified approximately 211 children in which parents have indicated they want to continue with the process. If families have not been in contact with the U.S. government and feel that they meet the requirements of the pipeline cases, they need to contact the Office of Children’s Issues at askci@state.gov. In your correspondence please provide your name, your child’s name and adoption registration number, a description of the status of your adoption and your contact information. Please include “Romanian Adoption” in the subject line.

Post Placement Reports:

The Romanian government has asked that all families who have adopted Romanian children provide the regular post-placement required. Please send a copy of the reports to the Romanian Embassy in Washington, DC as well as to the National Authority for the Protection of the Child and Adoption (NAPCA).

Send copies of post-placement reports to:

Embassy of Romania

RE: Post-Placement Adoption Reports

1607 23rd Street, N.W.

Washington, DC 20008

European Union:

The European Union has stated that both Bulgaria and Romania should sign the EU Accession Treaty in April 2005.

International Press Report –

Romania Agrees to Establish International Adoptions Committee

BUCHAREST, Romania — The government has reportedly agreed with a French proposal to establish an international commission on adoptions. Prime Minister Adrian Nastase discussed the idea with French counterpart Jean-Pierre Raffarin in Bucharest on Monday (18 October). According to Raffarin, the proposal applies in particular to the cases of French couples caught in the middle of adoption proceedings by a Romanian moratorium on international adoptions in 2001.

In other news, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe President Peter Schieder visited Bucharest on Monday and praised the progress achieved by Romania on the road to full EU membership. (Nine o’clock, Rompres – 19/10/04; Reuters – 18/10/04)

JCICS meets with officials regarding Romanian adoptions

September 24, 2004 – Antonia Edwardson, Executive Director and Deb Murphy-Scheumann, JCICS Board President met with the following individuals in separate meetings regarding the status of pending cases in Romania:

Tatiana Maxim, Congressional Liaison, Embassy of Romania

Katie Joyce, Legislative Correspondent, Office of Senator Kerry

Paul Foldi, Professional Staff Member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Heather Conley, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, Department of State

Deb Murphy-Scheumann also represented JCICS in a meeting with Ambassador Crouch in Romania during the month of September.

Summaries of the meetings are detailed in the following bullet points:

  • Ambassador Crouch has met with Prime Minister Nastase on three different occasions and has discussed the issues of the pending cases;

  • Ambassador Crouch has met with other Ambassadors in Bucharest in regard to the pending cases;

  • The State Department has taken a strong lined approach that these cases must be resolved;

  • The country of Romania has indicated that they do not want to aggressively pursue the resolving of these cases until the recommendation report for ascension to the EU has been published. * The report was issued last week. No word on how this may impact the progress of the stated plan.

  • The Romanian government has indicated that they are looking at the development of a commission. The purpose of this commission would only be to address the pending cases from all countries which were filed/referred under the Emergency Ordinance.

  • The US Government is working with the country of Romania to pass a law in parliament that will allow the pending cases to be brought to completion after the January 1 deadline of the new law is implemented;

  • The State Department has asked the Joint Council of International Children’s Services to recommend wording to determine the criteria for pending cases to be identified and processed;

  • The State Department is committed to suggesting language that will create a transparent processing of the pending cases;

  • The State Department is committed to having a broad approach for defining the pending cases;

  • The State Department has engaged in conversations and cooperatively worked with European countries with pending cases, however, the State Departments goal is to resolve US pending cases.

  • A follow-up meeting will be scheduled the end of October to discuss the progress on the issue of pending cases.

July 28, 2004 – JCICS participated in conference call with the Department of State, White House representatives and another NGO about the situation in Romania and the plan for pending cases.

Joint Council Advocacy – In the wake of the recent adoption law in Romania, Joint Council is continuing to advocate for a more reasonable child welfare law that permits intercountry adoption in the best interest of the child. We continue to advocate for pending cases to be processed and for intercountry adoption to remain a viable option for children in need of permanent families throughout the world.

Adoptive Families — Adoptive families who have accepted a referral of a Romanian orphan are asked to contact the Office of Children’s Issues at askci@state.gov. In your correspondence please provide your name, your child’s name and adoption registration number, a description of the status of your adoption and your contact information. Please include “Romanian Adoption” in the subject line.

June 21, 2004 – Romanian President Iliescu signed into law a draft adoption bill that limits international adoption to a child’s grandparents. The law was published in the Romanian Government Monitor on June 22, making the law official, according to the State Department’s website.

On June 22, EU enlargement commissioner Guenter Verheugen congratulated Romania for a new law restricting the possibility for foreigners to adopt Romanian children. Click here for the news article.

June 15, 2004 – The Romanian Chamber of Deputies voted to approve the proposed adoption law that essential ceases all international adoptions (the only exception is adoption by a child’s grandparents). The law is now awaiting President Iliescu’s signature. Although the law provides him with 20 days to sign the bill, it is expected that he will do so relatively soon as he has made references to his intent to sign.

The next step is to follow up with the Romanians regarding pipeline cases. In February, it was indicated that cases with the President’s signature would be processed and we have heard no evidence contradicting this point. Although the law states that additional pending cases (those without the President’s signature) will be processed according to the new law (which prohibits international adoption therefore the cases would not be recognized) we are seeking clarification.

Our thoughts are with the children left behind with little hope of finding a permanent family and with the families who have endured years of waiting only to hear this difficult news. We will continue advocating for the children and will keep you apprised of any new developments.

June 10, 2004 – The U.S. Embassy in Romania has learned through the press that the Prime Minister’s proposal to ban, in essence, inter-country adoptions has been approved by the Juridical Committee of the Chamber of Deputies without meaningful change. This legislation has NOT yet been approved by the full Chamber.

The U.S. Government feels that the Romanians do not have the capacity to absorb current numbers of abandoned and orphaned children through domestic means, absent recourse to long-term institutionalization, which clearly is not in the best interests of the child. The U.S. recommendations on this matter have been repeatedly provided and it is their hope that the Chamber of Deputies will consider appropriate modifications, in the interest of these children, when it debates the bill.

For a full copy of the press release, click here.

June

2004 – The new adoption law was approved by the Romanian Senate on March 11th and is scheduled to be voted on by the House of Deputies after the elections in June. As currently written, the new adoption legislation would essentially stop all intercountry adoptions. Many groups, including JCICS, have been advocating to the Romanians, the European Union and to the U.S. Government for changes to be made in the legislation to allow intercountry adoptions to resume. It is our hope that the various parties involved can pursue an agreeable revision of the legislation that would permit intercountry adoption.

April 2004

CCAI sent a letter to the President of the European Parliament. Click here for a copy of the letter.

April 9, 2004

Recently there have been media reports that the Romanian “Chamber of Deputies decided that the adoption requests made by the foreign citizens or Romanian citizens resided abroad should be solved according to the regulations in force when inserting the requests”, thereby re-instating the Emergency Ordinance.

However, the Romanian Embassy in Washington, DC has confirmed that only the pipeline cases previously approved and signed by the Prime Minister would continue under the Emergency Ordinance. There are an estimated 36 cases in the United States that would meet that definition and be allowed to proceed. At this time, it is unknown how additional cases which have been filed but not yet approved will be handled.

March 31, 2004

Joint Council met with representatives from the Delegation of the European Commission to the United States to discuss the current situation in Romania. JCICS requested that the Commission:

Ensure that adoption legislation passed by the Romanian government adheres to the tenets and principles outlined in the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-Operation In Respect of Intercountry Adoption and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Emphasize through diplomatic communication with the European Parliament and other EU delegates that international adoption is the best option for children who cannot be permanently placed within their country of birth.

Joint Council has also prepared an information sheet for press or those interested in background information on this issue.

March 2004

Romania’s Ministry of Labor, Social Solidarity and Family has issued a press release dated 3/15/04 regarding the “draft laws approved by the Government on March 11, 2004″ which “set the proper legislative framework for implementing the strategy on child and family and for establishing local level services dedicated to the family and to preventing child separation from the natural parents.” Click here for the press release. It is expected that the Parliament will debate and approve the new legislative framework on child protection, including the new adoption law, in May.

JCICS is concerned about this new development and is exploring various possibilities of what can be done to allow intercountry adoptions to continue. We will update this site as we learn of new developments.

February 2004

  • Click here for the JCICS letter to Prime Minister Nastase (2/4/04)

  • Click here for the JCICS letter to Ambassador Guest regarding pending (2/18/04)

There have been many new developments in Romania over the past few weeks. Romania released a new draft of their proposed adoption law. JCICS has concerns with the proposed law and have outlined these issues in a letter sent to the Romanian government.

In addition, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute sent a letter to Prime Minister Nastase urging international adoption be given priority over foster care. Twenty-one members of Congress signed the letter which was sent the week of February 16th.

On February 10, during discussions with the Embassy of Romania we were told that the law would be sent to the Parliament from the Cabinet sometime in February and that the Parliament is slated to pass the law in May. Afterwards, a six month implementation period would commence.

It appears that Prime Minister Nastase is under considerable pressure following reports of 105 children being approved for adoption during the moratorium by Italian families in December of 2003. While these children appear to have fallen under the emergency ordinance, this has spurned negative press against international adoption and some individuals have stated that Romania’s entry into the EU scheduled to occur in 2007 may be in jeopardy. On Friday, February 6, 2004 Romania repealed it’s Emergency Ordinance. Click here for the Romanian press release regarding this repeal.

JCICS has met with Congressional offices and is discussing the situation with the U.S. government. We are currently awaiting verification from the Department of State regarding the processing of pending cases now that the Emergency Ordinance has been suspended. As we learn of more information we will update this page.

The following is an expert from the State Department:

Update on Romanian Adoption Moratorium

June 2, 2003

The Romanian government has extended its moratorium on adoptions until new legislation governing adoption is implemented. The actual date of enactment and implementation of the new legislation cannot be predicted at this time.

The Romanian Adoption Committee (RAC) announced a one-year moratorium on inter-country adoption beginning June 21, 2001. That decision formalized a de facto suspension of international adoptions that had been in effect since Prime Minister Nastase’s government took office in December 2000. The government has extended that moratorium numerous times, pending passage and implementation of new legislation intended to eliminate corruption from Romania’s adoption system.

We know that this issue is a difficult one for the many Americans who are interested in adopting Romanian children. Our Ambassador in Bucharest and other senior U.S. government officials have engaged vigorously with the highest levels of the Romanian government to seek a reinstatement of international adoptions. In our dialogue with Romania on this issue, we have focused on two tracks:

We have pressed the Romanian government to allow those children whose matches with prospective parents have been approved by the government, and whose adoptions thus are in the final stages, to be exempt from the current moratorium. In response, the Romanian government announced in October 2001 its intention to review these so-called “pipeline” cases with a view to their early resolution, even while the moratorium remains in effect.

There is widespread agreement that the prior Romanian legal framework did not always protect the best interests of children, creating opportunities for corruption at many levels. Reforms underway now will, we hope, lead to the creation of a more transparent inter-country adoption system that safeguards children while preventing fraud. The United States government, in conjunction with others concerned about child welfare, has made recommendations to the Romanian government on how to improve its adoption process and has assisted the government of Romania in drafting new child welfare laws. We are hopeful that the draft laws soon will be passed by the Romanian parliament. We intend to continue our close and frank dialogue with Romanian officials on these issues. However, fundamental decisions on these issues are the purview of the Romanian government.

We know that there are disappointed prospective parents whose plans to adopt Romanian children have been adversely affected by this moratorium. The U.S. Government places great importance on resolving this issue so that these children can be placed in loving homes. We will continue to press for prompt completion of the new adoption law that is needed before international adoptions can resume. This will remain a high priority until the moratorium is lifted.

For additional information, you may also wish to access the web site of the Romanian Embassy in Washington: http://www.roembus.org. You may also contact the Romanian Embassy through the following e-mail address: tmaxim@roembus.org. Information is also available on the State Department’s web site: http://travel.state.gov and on the web site of the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest: http://www.usembassy.ro.

May 2003

Public Debate on the Current Version of the Legislative Package on Child Protection

There are new laws being publicly debated in Bucharest and the Romanian government is receiving public suggestions and comments up until May 5th. For a copy of the law in English click here. For more information on the proposed laws visit the Embassy of Romania’s website.

To read Joint Council’s comments on the new law

click here

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